The new Nikon D3300 has some pretty impressive video and photo capabilities in a relatively inexpensive package. But if you use a memory card that isn’t fast enough, you’ll find your videos stop recording part way.
Nikon issues its own guidelines for officially approved memory cards for the Nikon D3300, but it’s pretty hard to make sense of. They’re buried on page 310 in the technical notes section of the Nikon D3300 instruction manual. They look like this.
I don’t find that especially helpful. So I’ve taken those official recommendations from Nikon and translated them into practical recommendations below that cut through all the confusing jargon that memory card manufacturers use in their marketing.
In general, the Nikon D3300 will accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. All of those types look exactly the same–the difference is in the amount of memory. SD refers to cards up to 2GB in size. Now that memory card prices have come down and you can buy very good 32GB cards for $15, there’s no good reason to be buying a 2GB card if you camera supports larger ones. So I’d recommend sticking with SDHC or SDXC for the Nikon D3300. SDHC refers to cards that are 4GB up through 32GB. SDXC refers to cards that are 64GB or above. And with the D3300 shooting photos at over 24 MP, you’ll probably find a card that’s at least 32 GB will give you more flexibility.
If you’re doing video recording, you’ll need a card that’s designated as class 6 or higher. The reason is that when recording video the camera needs to write a lot of data to the card quickly. If you’re card isn’t able to write data fast enough, the video recording will stop. The current crop of memory cards are all class 10, so you’re better off going with one of them than searching around for an old class 6 card.
As far as brands go, I’d generally stick with the big, well-known ones. Sandisk, Lexar, Delkin, Sony, Samsung, Kingston, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Transcend are some of the main brands that make excellent cards, and you’ll be able to find one from those manufacturers that both meets your needs and is very reasonably priced. The most common brands that pros use are Sandisk and Lexar.
So here’s a mix of recommended memory cards that will work well in the Nikon D3300 and that are reasonably priced, readily available, and good value. This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are both faster and slower SD cards that will also work, as well as smaller and larger ones. Because of the similarities between the two cameras, these are essentially the same memory card recommendations for the Nikon D5300 as well.
Recommended Memory Cards for the Nikon D3300
SanDisk ExtremeThis is not actually the fastest and fanciest of SanDisk’s SD cards. They also have the Extreme Pro and Extreme Plus lines that are faster, but they’re also more expensive and you won’t get any extra benefit from them in the D3400.
Lexar Professional 633xAgain, this is no longer the top-of-the-line model in Lexar’s range—there are now 1000x and 2000x ranges as well—but it’s fast enough for the D3400 and it’s excellent value. You can also find good deals on double packs.
Transcend TS64GSDU3 / T128GSDU3It’s available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes and has rated speeds of 95 MB/s for reading and 60MB/s for writing.
Available at: Amazon
Sony SF64UZ/TQN / SF32UZ/TQNIt’s available in 16GB through 128GB sizes.
Kingston SD10VG2Kingston aren’t one of the better known brands, and they don’t tend to focus on the bleeding edge technologies, but they’ve been around a long time and make solid, reliable memory cards that are typically very good value.
Transcend TS32GSDHC10U1EAnother brand that doesn’t have the marketing budget of some of the better-known brands, Transcend nevertheless makes reliable, solid cards that are good value.
PNY Elite PerformanceIt’s available in the usual 32GB through 128GB sizes, but one notable thing about this card is that there are also 256GB and 512GB versions.
Avoiding Counterfeit Memory Cards
It’s worth buying from a reputable manufacturer. There are counterfeit cards on the market that often pop up on from shady dealers. It’s also not a bad idea to have a spare on hand. Memory cards are remarkably resilient things but like any electronic device they do fail from time to time.